Cha-Ching! How to Save on Your Cell Phone Bill


When Chris, a Finance Opinion analyst, was visiting his parents last week, they took a trip down memory lane and began chatting about the early days of cell phones and the challenges that came along with it (having to monitor their time on the phone when it wasn’t a free night or weekend, for example). 

When it comes to cell phones, it became clear to Chris how quickly service options have advanced over the past decade. Gone are the days of needing “free nights and weekends” or “unlimited messages;” these days, most of these services are already bundled into your monthly bill. However, with these now-standard services, Chris and his parents also discussed how cell phone bills have skyrocketed in cost over the past decade.

While it can feel like there’s no real way to get around it, you don’t have to be paying a premium for good service and WiFi. If you’re looking to cut down on monthly expenses, your cell phone bill could be a great starting point to help. Read on to understand what’s driving the increase in costs, along with three tips to trim down the charges on your monthly cell phone bill. 

What’s Driving the Increase in Phone Bill Fees?

Depending on the carrier, the average monthly cell phone bill costs Americans about $130 – a 50% jump since 2007. So what’s driving this drastic increase in pricing? 

To start, hidden fees are the number one driver in rising phone bill costs. These costs include activation fees, new phones, contract extensions, and early-termination fees. Additionally, if you frequently travel outside of your carrier’s service area, you can expect to pay a hefty roaming fee.  

Along with rising costs in hidden fees, the average cell phone owner exceeds the average data plan cap, and pays a premium for overreaching the monthly limit on data. 

Ways to Save Cash On Your Monthly Cell Phone Bill

Just because cell phone bills are rising in monthly costs doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to save. In fact, these three tips can help save you upwards of 50% on your monthly bill. 

Negotiate a New Rate

The first step to landing a better rate is to simply ask for one! While most shoppers believe the first cell phone rate they’re provided is to be taken at face value, there is (usually) some room for negotiation.

Call or visit your provider’s local store and chat with a salesperson to see if you can get a deal, such as waiving an activation or upgrade fee. Additionally, if you’ve been a long standing customer, most providers offer a loyalty discount – sometimes up to 10% off a month – as an appreciation for your long-time business.  

Skip Scrolling When Without WiFi 

When your cell phone isn’t connected to WiFi, your phone taps into data, which can quickly lead to monthly overage charges. Stay within your monthly data limit (and avoid overage penalty fees) by only using data when you need it. This means saving activities like browsing, scrolling, streaming, and downloading only for times when your phone is connected to WiFi.  

Pass On New-Phone Payment Plans

While it can be appealing to receive the newest iPhone model as it’s released each year, the new phone lease payment plans can add upwards of $50 a month to your cell phone bill (depending on your plan and provider).

Cut back on the monthly debt by purchasing your phone up front, and sticking with the model you can afford. By cutting down on new bells and whistles every year, you can end up saving over $600 a year on your cell phone bill.  

Finally, remember that before switching providers or looking for ways to save, always review your current cell phone service contract to ensure you avoid any contract breaking fees, which could end up costing you more than your cell phone bill is in the long run. 


The opinions expressed in this post are for informational purposes only. To determine the best financing for your personal circumstances and goals, we advise you to consult with a licensed advisor.

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